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Windows 7: Change Hard Drive

05 Apr 2010   #1

Windows 7
Change Hard Drive


One things I have never been able to get right is changing a hard drive with Windows on without reloading Windows.

Let's say for example I have a laptop with one drive on it (and let say only one partition) and I would like to put in a bigger hard drive. How do I do that without reloading windows.

Other than copying all files over to the new drive and setting that partition with the Windows files on the new drive as the active one, what else do I need to do?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Apr 2010   #2

win 7 ultimate32bit, Win8.1pro wmc 32bit

hi gmansa, a lot of members on here have had success using macrium reflect Macrium Reflect Backup and Hard Disk Imaging for Windows 7, Vista, XP and Server 2003/2008 or you could use a disc imaging software like acronis true image
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2010   #3

Win7 HP (x64)/Win7 Ultimate (x64)

Hi gmansa

A tutorial on how to change the hard drive can be found here:
Hard Drive - Change (Laptop)

Before that though, there a a couple of things that you will need to finalize:

  1. Do you have space (physical) on your laptop to accommodate the additional hard-disk drive? If you are limited to one physical hard-drive slot, then a replacement (and reinstall) would be the way forward. If this is the case, then consider using an imaging software that would clone your existing drive which you could use to restore on the new replacement drive.
  2. Do you run Parallel-ATA (PATA) or Serial ATA (SATA) drives? This is important because you will need to set up jumper positions for the PATA drives, if you have them.
The other way (recommended) to approach this would be to invest in a removable drive i.e. external hard-disk storage that connects to your laptop via a USB interface. Prices for these have come down in recent times.

Hope this will help in your decision-making

My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Apr 2010   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64

Easus has a good copy tool. Just hook the new drive up to a SATA port and copy the old drives data to the new one. Then change drives. Tools like this make it easier.'

EASEUS Disk Copy: Free Disk Copy, Disk Clone, Partition Copy Software. Sector by Sector for hard drive backup freeware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2010   #5

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


Win key (that's the one with the funny looking wavy flag it)
Control Panel
Backup And Restore
Select System Image and do a full system image backup to an external drive.

Now at Backup And Restore
Select Create A System Repair Disk

Now you can go ahead and remove the old laptop disk and insert the new laptop disk.

Boot from the System Repair Disk that you made
After the boot is finished, connect your external drive
Choose System Restore from the menu(s) shown
Restore from your external drive.
The restore procedure will take care of any formatting and partitioning needed to "restore" from your external drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP


All of the options given are good, although you may still need to repair or rewrite the MBR once Windows 7 is copied over.

To do this, first make sure Windows 7 is marked Active using a partition manager like free Partition Wizard bootable CD (which can also copy over your partition), then boot the Windows 7 DVD repair console or Repair CD, click through to Recovery tools list, select Startup Repair to run up to 3 separate times with reboots until Windows 7 starts.

Personally I would first try the Windows 7 Backup Image option as it has worked for me many times to change HD's and doesn't even need the MBR repair normally.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Change Hard Drive

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